6 council hopefuls file data on funds

District 2 kitties range from $1,000 to $14,800

In race to succeed Gray

Election 2002

August 15, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

The six-way competition to see who will succeed C. Vernon Gray on the Howard County Council produced divergent approaches to campaign fund raising, according to reports filed this week with the county elections board.

The major battle is among the four Democrats seeking their party's nomination in the Sept. 10 primary, though one Democratic candidate - James G. Fitzgerald - has sworn to raise and spend no more than $1,000.

That's fine with Republican Brian Harlin, who owns an election-materials supply business and has GOP backing for his bid against Raymond Bly, a used-appliance dealer who also has sworn not to spend or raise more than $1,000.

"Hopefully, they'll have to spend all their money in the primary, and not worry about little ol' me," Harlin said.

Harlin reported raising exactly $1,000 - half from himself. He had spent only $71.50 by Aug. 6, the report said.

Harlin's small expenses are almost exactly how much Michele Williams, one of the three other Democrats, has left to spend. She raised $2,430 and has spent $2,354 of that - leaving about $76, according to the elections board report.

"I said I was going to raise what I needed. I've gotten the [campaign] literature I need," Williams said, adding she plans another fund-raising event for Aug. 25. "I wasn't trying to set a record."

Democrats David Rakes and Calvin Ball are the two big spenders, the reports show, though Rakes lent himself $10,000 of the $14,800 he raised. Rakes spent all but $3,463 of his money, though he had another fund-raiser at a Columbia restaurant Tuesday night - after the report-filing deadline.

"We want to run a first-class campaign," Ball said.

Ball collected $13,907 - including $2,000 from his father - and has spent about half of that, leaving him with $6,867.

The youngest candidate in the race at 26, Ball said he is "right on schedule" in raising money. "It's an election, not a money-raising contest," he noted, adding that he is running a "grass-roots campaign. I'm not the slick politico."

Democrats have a nearly 2-1 advantage in registered voters in the east Columbia-Jessup district seat Gray has held for 20 years.

Harlin's election-materials supply company, the GOP Shoppe, is in Elkridge. "I can assure you that no one will have more [campaign] stuff than I do," he said.

The District 2 council candidates might wish they had the kind of support County Executive James N. Robey, a Democrat, has attracted, with $39,000 in gifts or in-kind services worth $1,000 or more, and two $4,000 contributors.

One of those, Se Ung Kim, of Ellicott City, a 30-year Howard County resident, said he supports Robey for his lifetime of public service as a police officer and county executive, and for his friendliness toward the Korean community.

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